IFEX Communiqué Vol 15 No 37
----| IFEX COMMUNIQUÉ VOL 15 NO 37 | 19 SEPTEMBER 2006 | ------
The IFEX Communiqué is the weekly newsletter of the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX), a global network of 72 organisations working to defend and promote the right to free expression. IFEX is managed by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (www.cjfe.org).
--------------| Visit the IFEX website: http://www.ifex.org |------------------
----- | INDEX | ------
FREE EXPRESSION SPOTLIGHT:
1. Civil Society Urges More Transparency for IMF, World Bank
2. Turkmenistan: International Outcry Over Journalist's Death
3. Iraq: Three Journalists Killed in a Week; Pulitzer-Winning Photographer Detained
4. Turkey: International PEN Supports Writers Facing Trials
5. Pakistan: Attacks on Journalists Raise Alarm
REPORTS AND PUBLICATIONS:
6. IFEX Launches Russian Campaign Handbook
7. Civil Society Scrutinises Arab Human Rights Charter
8. Human Rights Watch Seeks Russia Researcher
AWARDS AND FELLOWSHIPS:
9. UNESCO Seeks Nominations for World Press Freedom Prize
ALERTS ISSUED BY THE IFEX CLEARING HOUSE LAST WEEK
FREE EXPRESSION SPOTLIGHT
1. CIVIL SOCIETY URGES MORE TRANSPARENCY FOR IMF, WORLD BANK
Amidst the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank this week in Singapore, a coalition of civil society organisations, including ARTICLE 19, have launched a global charter calling for these institutions to end their "highly secretive practices" and bring their own practices in line with the transparency standards they advocate for governments.
The Transparency Charter for International Financial Institutions calls for a "radical overhaul" of the existing information disclosure policies of institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, World Trade Organisation and intergovernmental banks.
The Charter was drafted by the Global Transparency Initiative, a coalition of eight non-governmental organisations that campaigns to give citizens the right to access information held by international financial institutions (IFI's).
Magda Stoczkiewicz of the CEE Bankwatch Network, a member of the coalition, says: "Although a wealth of information is available on IFI websites, their boards of directors operate behind closed doors, much important project information is not made available and, as a rule, information that is disclosed is provided only after relevant decisions have effectively been taken."
ARTICLE 19 says most IFI's disclosure policies do not establish a right of access nor do they set out clear and narrow grounds for refusing access. They also limit the types of documents that can be disclosed, and lack independent oversight mechanisms to ensure proper implementation of the policies.
The need for greater openness among the IFIs was highlighted last week by the initial failure of the World Bank and IMF to criticise the repressive actions of the Singapore government, which banned more than 25 accredited individuals and organisations from attending the annual meeting. Only after civil society groups announced a boycott of the meetings on 15 September and staged protests did the IMF criticise Singapore. Singapore later allowed most of the banned activists to enter the country, though campaigners said the move came too late.
Visit these links:
- ARTICLE 19: http://www.article19.org/pdfs/press/transparency-charter-launch.pdf
- Text of the Charter:
- GTI: http://www.ifitransparency.org/
- IFI WatchNet: http://www.ifiwatchnet.org/
- Bank Information Center: http://www.bicusa.org/en/index.aspx
- Singapore Activists Protest Censorship: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/09/19/asia/AS_GEN_Singapore_Protest.php
- Singapore Blogger Comments on IMF Meetings: http://www.yawningbread.org/arch_2006/yax-647.htm
EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA
2. TURKMENISTAN: INTERNATIONAL OUTCRY OVER JOURNALIST'S DEATH
IFEX members have expressed outrage at the death of a journalist and human rights activist in a Turkmenistan prison and have called for an independent investigation into the circumstances that led to the tragedy. Turkmen authorities revealed on 14 September 2006 that Ogulsapar Muradova, a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and an activist associated with the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation, died while in custody.
The suspicious circumstances surrounding Muradova's death have prompted calls of concern from Human Rights Watch, the International Press Institute, the World Association of Newspapers, Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Federation of Journalists.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has also urged Turkmen authorities to conduct a "thorough, prompt and independent investigation into the cause of Ms. Muradova's death, including an independent medical examination of the body, and to make the findings public."
According to Human Rights Watch, Muradova's son was summoned by authorities to collect his mother's body. He noticed that his mother had a wound on her head. Authorities rejected the family's request for an autopsy and did not disclose the cause or date of death. CPJ says security forces surrounded the Muradova home and prevented people from seeing the body or contacting Muradova's relatives, whose telephones have been cut. There are also reports that authorities have intensified surveillance and intimidation of Muradova's family.
Muradova, 58, had been held incommunicado since 18 June. Denied access to a lawyer, she was convicted of possessing illegal weapons and sentenced to six years in jail on 25 August after a closed-door trial that lasted minutes, Human Rights Watch said.
Two other human rights activists affiliated with the Turkmenistan Helskini Foundation - Amandurdy Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khajiev - were also convicted alongside Muradova for possessing illegal weapons. Each received seven year prison sentences. Following Muradova's death, there are heightened fears that these two individuals face the risk of torture and ill treatment.
Turkmenistan is one of the most repressive and closed countries in the world, say Human Rights Watch and Freedom House. The government tolerates no dissent, allows no media or political freedoms, and has driven into exile or imprisoned political opponents, human rights defenders and independent journalists. The government controls all radio and television broadcasts and print media. Reports of dissenting political views are banned, including mild forms of criticism of President Saparmurat Niazov. Subscriptions to foreign newspapers and magazines are forbidden, and foreign journalists have few opportunities to visit Turkmenistan.
Visit these links:
- Human Rights Watch: http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/09/15/turkme14201.htm
- CPJ: http://www.cpj.org/news/2006/europe/turkmen14sept06na.html
- WAN: http://www.wan-press.org/article11911.html
- Freedom House: http://www.freedomhouse.org/uploads/WoW/2006/Turkmenistan2006.pdf
- IPI: http://www.freemedia.at/
- RSF Appeals for Aid: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=18342
- RFE/RL: http://www.rferl.org/
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
3. IRAQ: THREE JOURNALISTS KILLED IN A WEEK, PULITZER-WINNING PHOTOGRAPHER DETAINED
It has been a bloody week for journalists in Iraq, with three murdered by gunmen since 12 September 2006, report the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF).
Ahmed Riyadh al-Karbouli, a correspondent for Baghdad TV, was gunned down by armed assailants in the town of Ramadi on 18 September 2006. Al-Karbouli, 25, had received numerous death threats from insurgents over the past four months, noted CPJ. Baghdad TV is owned by the Iraqi Islamic Party, a major Sunni political group that joined the U.S.-backed Iraqi government earlier this year. Al-Karbouli worked at Baghdad TV for two years covering security and the plight of Ramadi residents. His articles reportedly offended some insurgents in Ramadi who felt they were being criticised. A month ago, gunmen stormed into Al-Karbouli's house and threatened him in front of his family.
In two separate incidents on 12 September, photographer Safa Isma'il Enad and journalist Hadi Anawi al-Joubouri were killed. Enad, 31, was shot by gunmen in a store in Baghdad's Ur neighbourhood, reported CPJ, IFJ and RSF. He was a freelance photographer for several media organisations, including the newspaper "Al-Watan", which was closed two months ago due to financial difficulties. The newspaper is affiliated with the Iraqi National Movement, a political party that receives funds from the United States.
Al-Joubouri, 56, was a journalist and representative of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate in the eastern province of Diyala. He was killed while driving between Baquba and Khalis, north of Baghdad.
While CPJ, RSF and IFJ have different statistics on the numbers of journalists and media support staff killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led occupation in 2003, the most conservative figure - from RSF - puts the number at 107.
The majority of journalists and media support staff killed are Iraqis, who face added pressures that foreign reporters have not had to encounter. CPJ notes that in the last 18 months, seven Iraqi journalists have been detained for weeks or months by U.S. forces on suspicion of links to insurgents. No charges have been proven in any of these cases.
The most recent case concerns Bilal Hussein, a freelance photojournalist for the Associated Press (AP) who has been held without charge by U.S. military forces since April. Hussein is an Iraqi citizen who began working for AP in September 2004. One of his photos was part of an AP series that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for breaking news photography.
AP made public Hussein's arrest after five months of talks with U.S. authorities to obtain his release proved fruitless. "[Hussein] either needs to be charged or released. We've come to the conclusion that this is unacceptable under Iraqi law, or Geneva Conventions, or any military procedure," says AP President Tom Curley.
The U.S. military claims that Hussein has ties to Iraqi insurgents. "He has close relationships with persons known to be responsible for kidnappings, smuggling, improvised explosive attacks, and other attacks on coalition forces," according to Major General John Gardner.
Hussein's detention flies in the face of the U.S. military's new policy introduced in March which officials said would discourage the long-term detentions of journalists held without charge, notes CPJ. Gardner told Reuters that the U.S. military had established a new goal of reviewing cases of detained journalists within 36 hours.
Visit these links:
- CPJ: http://www.cpj.org/news/2006/mideast/iraq18sept06na.html
- IFJ: http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?index=4199&Language=EN
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=18905
- Iraq: Journalists in Danger: http://www.cpj.org/Briefings/Iraq/Iraq_danger.html
- Iraqi Journalists Rights Defence Association: http://www.ijrda.com
4. TURKEY: INTERNATIONAL PEN SUPPORTS WRITERS FACING TRIALS
Representatives of International PEN will be traveling to Istanbul, Turkey this week to lend support to dozens of writers who have been charged for "insulting Turkishness" under a provision in the Criminal Code that has been widely criticised for being draconian.
One of the higher profile trials involves the well-known writer Elif Shafak, who will appear in court on 21 September 2006. She has been charged under Article 301 of the Code. The case relates to her book "Baba ve Pic" ("Father and Bastard"), which is to be published in English later this year under the title "The Bastard of Istanbul". The charges stem from a passage in the novel in which one of the characters refers to the deaths of Armenians during the First World War as genocide.
International PEN says Shafak is among 18 other writers, journalists and publishers currently on trial in Turkey under Article 301. They include Ragip Zarakolu, who is being accused of insulting Turkishness by publishing two books that refer to the deportations and massacres of Armenians by Turkish forces in the early 1900s. He is due to attend a court hearing on 5 October.
Article 301, which came into effect in June 2005, states that "A person who explicitly insults being a Turk, the Republic or Turkish Grand National Assembly, shall be imposed to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of six months to three years."
Last year, Turkey attracted widespread international criticism after acclaimed writer Orhan Pamuk was charged under the law. He had stated in an interview that "thirty thousand Kurds and a million Armenians were killed and nobody but me dares to talk about it." A court threw out his case for lack of evidence.
Visit these links:
- International PEN: http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/index.php?pid=33&aid=489
- PEN American Center: http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/694/prmID/172
- BIANet: http://www.bianet.org/2006/09/01_eng/news85419.htm
- Profile of Elif Shafak: http://www.elifsafak.net/biography.html
- Initiative for Freedom of Expression: http://www.antenna-tr.org/
5. PAKISTAN: ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS RAISE ALARM
A series of attacks on journalists in Pakistan in the past week, including a murder, have prompted the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) to express serious concerns over press freedom in the country.
On 15 September 2006, reporter Maqbool Hussain Sail was shot to death by masked gunmen in Dera Ismail Khan, Northwest Frontier Province. Sail, 32, worked for the Online International News Network and was on his way to interview the leader of the local branch of the Pakistan People's Party. It has not known whether Sail was killed because of his work as a journalist. According to CPJ, police are investigating the case, but have made no arrests.
According to CPJ, eight journalists have been murdered for their work in Pakistan since 2002, four of them in the tribal areas. Only one of these cases - the murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl - has been thoroughly investigated.
In the most recent case - that of journalist Hayatullah Khan, whose body was found on 16 June - Pakistani authorities have refused to make public the findings of two separate official inquiries into the murder.
Meanwhile, in other recent attacks, three journalists were brutally assaulted by police on 17 September while covering a public rally by a religious organisation in Lahore, reported PPF, IFJ and CPJ. ARY TV reporter Wadood Mushtaq, ATV correspondent Nazir Awan and ATV cameraman Zahid Malik received multiple injuries.
On 13 September, gunmen opened fire on the home of reporter Shakil Anjum in the province of Punjab, injuring his son and nephew, reported RSF. Anjum is a reporter for "The News". He suspected a local politician, about whom he had written in one of his articles, of ordering the attack.
On the same day, C.R. Shamsi, deputy editor of the daily newspaper "Ausaf", was assaulted by aides of the federal labour minister in Islamabad. Shamsi had approached the minister outside his office to inform him of planned national protests by journalists over unpaid wages, according to RSF. Shamsi's ear drum was seriously injured.
RSF also reports that Mushtaq Ghuman, a reporter for the "Business Recorder" in Islamabad, has received threatening phone calls following an article he is writing about the prime minister.
Visit these links:
- PPF: http://www.pakistanpressfoundation.org/userMediaFilesDetails.asp?uid=7653
- IFJ: http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?Index=4211&Language=EN
- CPJ: http://www.cpj.org/news/2006/asia/pak26july06na.html
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=18916
REPORTS AND PUBLICATIONS
6. IFEX LAUNCHES RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN HANDBOOK
IFEX is pleased to announce the publication of the Russian-language version of "Campaigning for Freedom of Expression: A Handbook for Advocates". This version was translated and published by IDEACCESS (http://www.ideaccess.org/), an organisation which "aims to make valuable social-justice related tools accessible to activists, women and ordinary people in their own language in communities in the Middle East and Central Asia."
The handbook contains best practices in campaigning, online resources and practical tools that can be applied anywhere in the world.
It can be downloaded here: http://www.ifex.org/download/russian/IFEXCampaignHandbookRussian.pdf
7. CIVIL SOCIETY SCRUTINISES ARAB HUMAN RIGHTS CHARTER
The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) has published a new book that analyses the Arab Charter on Human Rights from the perspective of civil society and human rights organisations.
"No One is Protected: The Role of the Arab League in Maintaining Human Rights Protection" is a collection of research papers examining the human rights protections enshrined in the Charter, including civil and political rights, women's rights and children's rights. The Charter was adopted by the League of Arab States in 1994 and revised in 2004.
The book traces the history of the Charter and compares its protection mechanisms with those of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights.
For more information, visit:
- CIHRS: http://www.cihrs.org/Default_en.aspx
- Text of Arab Charter on Human Rights: http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/arabcharter.html
8. HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH SEEKS RUSSIA RESEARCHER
HRW is seeking a researcher for its Europe and Central Asia Division who will have primary responsibility for monitoring human rights violations in Russia, and secondary responsibility for monitoring violations in one or two other countries in the former Soviet Union, depending on the researcher's expertise and the Europe and Central Asia division's needs. The researcher will investigate human rights developments in Russia and other countries in order to publicise and curtail human rights abuses through writing and advocacy.
Candidates must have an advanced degree in international relations, related regional studies, journalism, law, or another related field; several years of human rights experience, ideally in one or more of the target countries; and a demonstrated commitment to international human rights. He or she should have a fluent command of Russian and excellent writing and communications skills in English.
For more information, visit:
AWARDS AND FELLOWSHIPS
9. UNESCO SEEKS NOMINATIONS FOR WORLD PRESS FREEDOM PRIZE
UNESCO invites organizations working in the field of journalism and freedom of expression to nominate candidates for the 2007 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
Named in honour of the Colombian journalist who was killed in 1986 for criticising the country's powerful drug lords, the US$25,000 prize honours a person or organisation that has made a notable contribution to the defence and promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the prize, which will be presented to the winner on 3 May 2007 in Colombia on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.
Organisations can nominate a maximum of three candidates. Self-nominations are not accepted.
Nominations forms can be obtained here:
The deadline for submissions is 31 October 2006.
ALERTS ISSUED BY THE IFEX CLEARING HOUSE DURING THE PAST WEEK
11 SEPTEMBER 2006
China - New regulations reinforce Xinhua news agency's control over foreign news agencies (RSF) - alert
Sudan - "Chicago Tribune" journalist Paul Salopek released with interpreter and driver after being held for one month (RSF) - alert
Liberia - Opposition politician threatens legal action against newspaper (CEMESP) - alert
China - Journalist Ching Cheong to appeal against unfair verdict (RSF) - alert update
Liberia - Government cancels radio talk show; programme host receives death threat (CEMESP) - alert
Democratic Republic of Congo - JED appeals to UN special representative to ensure respect for press freedom (JED) - alert
Guatemala - Journalist shot to death, another receives death threat (RSF) - alert
Colombia - Military official prohibits screening of documentary film (FLIP) - alert
Egypt - Reuters journalist harassed by state security (RSF) - alert
Somalia - Radio station closed and reporter arrested at behest of Islamic courts (RSF) - alert
Sri Lanka - Government-controlled national broadcaster discontinues dramatic series (FMM) - alert
Lithuania - Newspaper issue seized; editor briefly detained; newsroom, editor's home searched and hard drives confiscated (CPJ) - alert
Iraq - "Al-Sabah" journalist gunned down, another seriously wounded in Baghdad (RSF) - alert
12 SEPTEMBER 2006
Somalia - Radio Jowhar resumes broadcasting after agreeing to tight restrictions on musical content (CPJ) - alert update
Bolivia - Molotov cocktails thrown against television station headquarters; reporter threatened (IPYS) - alert
Iraq - Journalist had received death threats prior to his murder (CPJ) - alert update
Uzbekistan - RSF expresses surprise at UNESCO award for President Karimov (RSF) - alert
Moldova - Interior Ministry searches television station, arrests employee (CPJ) - alert
Armenia - Opposition editor sentenced to four years in prison on dubious charge (CPJ) - alert update
Iran - Authorities close prominent critical daily and a monthly, lift ban on another newspaper (CPJ) - alert update
The Gambia - Public TV reporter detained secretly because of his election coverage (RSF) - alert
Cambodia - Journalist gets death threats over corruption reports (RSF) - alert
Cuba/International - Member countries reminded of Non-Aligned Movement's goals as Cuba takes over presidency and hosts summit (RSF) - press release
Liberia - Journalists reject committee report on beating of journalists by state security personnel (CEMESP) - alert
Peru - Four journalists threatened, accuse chief of police (IPYS) - alert update
13 SEPTEMBER 2006
Nepal - International mission appeals to media commission to bring freedom of expression up to international standards (ARTICLE 19) - press release
Iraq - Tikrit-based woman journalist Kalchan Al-Bayati freed after being held by Iraqi authorities (RSF) - alert update
Sudan - Four dailies hit by wave of censorship (RSF) - alert
Pakistan - Government remains silent on findings of investigations into journalist (RSF) - alert update
Hayatullah Khan's murder
Iraq - RSF concerned over arrest of woman journalist by Iraqi security forces (RSF) - alert
Côte d'Ivoire - Two journalists arrested for linking president's wife to toxic waste dumped in Abidjan (RSF) - alert
Botswana - Civil servant threatens to sue "The Ngami Times" weekly for defamation (MISA) - alert
Southern Africa - MISA annual meeting highlights ongoing media freedom and free expression violations in region (MISA) - press release
Zambia - Television crew from state-owned broadcaster harassed by crowd at opposition rally (MISA) - alert
Peru - Journalist repeatedly intimidated (IPYS) - alert
Serbia - Journalist receives death threats (IPI) - alert
14 SEPTEMBER 2006
Côte d'Ivoire - Managing editor, journalist and editor charged with "offence against the head of state" (RSF) - alert
Yemen - Government blocks websites, harasses journalist, as elections approach (HRInfo) - alert
Turkmenistan - Journalist Ogulsapar Muradova dies violently in prison (RSF) - alert
China - Judges barred from talking to the press (RSF) - alert
South Africa - Police violently repress demonstrations and deny freedom of expression to poor communities (FXI) - alert
Mexico - Community radio station journalists receive death threats (AMARC) - alert
Indonesia (West Papua) - Five Australian journalists expelled (RSF) - alert
Latvia - Journalists' telephone conversations with sources taped by government, leaked to media (IFJ) - alert
South Africa - FXI releases report on violations of the right to demonstrate and to express dissent (FXI) - press release
Singapore - Prime minister and his father sue "Far Eastern Economic Review" for libel (SEAPA) - alert
Ghana - Newspaper editor harassed, chased by guards of suspected drug criminal (MFWA) - alert
Pakistan - Senior journalist brutally beaten by minister's security guards (IFJ) - alert
Iraq - Two journalists shot and killed in separate attacks (CPJ) - alert
15 SEPTEMBER 2006
Kenya - Two journalists harassed while covering global youth summit (IFJ) - alert
Pakistan - Violence against journalists continues with a murder, beating and shooting (RSF) - alert update
Nepal - Media commission submits recommendations to government (FNJ) - alert
Sudan - Authorities intensify newspaper censorship and seizures (CPJ) - alert update
Honduras - Journalists harassed after investigating private security companies (PROBIDAD) - alert
Cambodia - Editor, in exile due to death threats over critical article, granted asylum in
Thailand (SEAPA) - alert update
United States - Prosecutors try to send blogger Josh Wolf back to prison (RSF) - alert update
China - Cyber-dissident Zhu Yufu freed, but fellow-activist He Depu still held as health declines (RSF) - alert update
Iran - Authorities boast of success in Internet filtering (RSF) - alert
Ireland - IFJ urges defeat of planned privacy law that will stifle journalism (IFJ) - alert
South Africa - Court gags newspaper in response to public official's legal action, setting disturbing precedent, says FXI (FXI) - alert
Burundi - Journalists receive death threats as ruling party supporters target radio station in aggressive campaign (RSF) - alert
Cambodia - New law will restrict Members of Parliament from expressing opinions freely (SEAPA) - alert
The Gambia - Public TV reporter freed after a week in secret police custody, then fired (RSF) - alert update
Zimbabwe - Cameraman beaten by police, detained, for filming police crackdown on union demonstration (IFJ) - alert
Kenya - Journalist harassed, receives death threats, and is living in exile, over defending himself against attack by first lady (FXI) - alert update